A little over a week following the horrific mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand, where 6 of the 51 victims were Palestinians, New York City Councilman Kalman Yeger made inflammatory anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab, and anti-Muslim remarks. The Councilman tweeted that “Palestine does not exist” and that “Ilhan Omar is an anti-semite.” Majlis Ash-Shura: Islamic Leadership Council of New York finds these comments bigoted, dangerous, and unfitting for any sitting Council Member to make.
These racist comments came immediately after the Councilman’s attendance of this year’s AIPAC conference; which is infamous for reinforcing and emboldening politicians to perpetuate narratives that dehumanize and erase Palestinians and their suffering.
With such blatant Islamophobic and anti-Palestinian rhetoric, Majlis Ash-Shura calls for the removal of Councilman Yeger from the New York City Council’s Immigration Committee. The dehumanization of Muslims and Palestinians, a large number of whom are immigrants, should not be tolerated in such an important committee that can affect the lives of many immigrants in New York City.
Furthermore, it is disappointing to see the difference between the lack of vigor in the responses by Democratic politicians to the blatantly dehumanizing comments made by the Councilman, and the much more direct and explicit condemnations that were made against Ilhan Omar for criticizing AIPAC. The message that is ultimately being sent to Muslim and Palestinian communities, is that anti-Palestinian bigotry and Islamophobia are more tolerable to some in the Democratic party than criticizing a lobbyist group.